Identity management is key to the proper operation of cloud computing

* The Open Cloud Manifesto deserves your support

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One of the hot buttons, or buzz phrases, these days is "cloud computing." Boiled down, it's just like client-server computing except: a) you don't own the server; b) you don't know where the server really is; and c) you may not even know where your data resides. All that aside, there remains the issues of authentication and authorization; provisioning; entitlement management; governance; compliance; risk management; single sign-on; and all of the other facets of identity management. Is anybody even thinking about those?

As it turns out, the answer is yes. The Open Cloud Manifesto is a document, signed (or, rather, agreed to) by most of the major (and minor) players involved in cloud computing in any way. The document itself opens by saying:

“The buzz around cloud computing has reached a fever pitch. Some believe it is a disruptive trend representing the next stage in the evolution of the Internet. Others believe it is hype, as it uses long established computing technologies. As with any new trend in the IT world, organizations must figure out the benefits and risks of cloud computing and the best way to use this technology.”

Well I can certainly agree with that!

It goes on to try to define the term “cloud computing”:

“The key characteristics of the cloud are the ability to scale and provision computing power dynamically in a cost efficient way and the ability of the consumer (end user, organization or IT staff) to make the most of that power without having to manage the underlying complexity of the technology. The cloud architecture itself can be private (hosted within an organization’s firewall) or public (hosted on the Internet).”

Again, nothing to disagree with there.

But the kicker comes on page 3:

“Many organizations are uncomfortable with the idea of storing their data and applications on systems they do not control. Migrating workloads to a shared infrastructure increases the potential for unauthorized access and exposure. Consistency around authentication, identity management, compliance, and access technologies will become increasingly important. To reassure their customers, cloud providers must offer a high degree of transparency into their operations.”

Hallelujah!

Identity management is key to the proper operation of cloud computing. The Open Cloud Manifesto deserves your support. Read it for yourself, take a look at who has signed on in support and, if you’re so inclined, sign up for you and your organization.

Thanks go out to Courion’s Bob Craig (Director of Product Marketing) for bringing it to my attention.

Upcoming events: An identity management conference comes to the Middle East this summer when Kuppinger-Cole hosts ID-Conf Istanbul from June 24-26. Get more details from the Web site.

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